Psychological operations directed against the people of the United States are not lawful. But the propaganda was so subtly crafted that the constant mantra, "Support the Troops," was never recognized for the actual message being delivered. The Iraq War was unassailable because to criticize the war was to criticize the troops. Then an unlikely propaganda ally gave the neocons 9/11. Politicians feared airing questions that begged to be asked. The military and veteran bandwagon took on a life of its own. There was no support for mass demonstrations against the war. Senior officers could take bribes and give girlfriends classified documents without indignation from our elected representatives. Support the Troops. What a contrast to the Viet Nam era. But in the end, how much support is there: compare the spending on veterans' programs to that on the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today I ask all Virginians to take a moment and reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to our country and died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a veteran of the United States Army, I have had the privilege to serve alongside some of the very finest men and women in this country who so bravely risk their lives defending our freedom. To those who died while serving our nation, I salute you and your families on this day of remembrance. We are all eternally grateful for your service and sacrifice.
Take care, Ralph Northam, Virginia Lieutenant Governor
I have come to personally believe that the phrase "thank-you for your service" has become a vacuous salutation. I am suspect of most politicians who blather on about veterans. The situation in the Veterans Administration justifies that cynicism. That is another story that is hardly new but I want to focus on actual heroes (a word woefully devalued by Ronald Reagan). I do know Ralph Northam and have no doubt in his sincerity.
"Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
Since the establishment of Memorial Day (as Decoration Day), we've blurred the line that defines military service for political and economic purposes. So I personally extend my remembrance to the police and fire personnel who have lost their lives in our service. And to the "contractors" whose military positions were "civilianized" so that politicians could claim reductions in force and retired military could suck at the teat of government pretending to deliver service more efficiently than the military.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed; those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." - Dwight David Eisenhower